Four in five drivers (82%) say they have been tailgated while a third (32%) admit to hogging the middle lane, research from Confused.com shows.
Careless driving includes offences such as tailgating, middle-lane hogging, undertaking and driving too slowly. Yet only 2,012 drivers were issued with spot fines for careless driving in 2016, according to Freedom of Information data.
Research from Confused.com also shows that one in five (19%) of drivers have had an accident or near miss as a result of being tailgated by another driver, while one in 10 (11%) have had a similar experience with a middle-lane hogger.
The number of drivers committing these dangerous offences is not surprising given that the research shows four in five (79%) UK drivers are unaware that tailgating is an offence punishable by at least three points on your licence and a £100 fine. And similarly, two-fifths (37%) are unaware that middle-lane hoggers can face the same penalties.
It’s perhaps no wonder so many drivers are unaware of these offences, given that almost a third (30%) of qualified drivers were never taught to drive on motorways after passing their test.
Thankfully, it will be legal for learner drivers to be taught on motorways from 2018, which could improve awareness of careless driving offences among motorists.
In the films, PC Tony Cope addresses dangerous careless driving behaviours, such as tailgating and middle lane hogging.
PC Cope believes there is a lack of education. He said: “When we pull offenders over, a standard response is ‘I didn’t realise that was an offence’.”
That’s reflected in the research with (50%) of motorists agreeing that many drivers are not even aware they are hogging the middle lane in the first place.
Careless driving can cause other motorists to drive dangerously, too. More than two in five (42%) drivers admit to breaking the speed limit and acting inappropriately to overtake a middle-lane hogger. And eight in 10 (79%) drivers admit to not knowing the correct distance to leave between their car and the vehicle in front on a motorway at 70mph.
Almost half (42%) of drivers believe more needs to be done to tackle tailgating and make drivers more aware about careless driving and lane discipline. This is not surprising given that it is the biggest annoyance cited by drivers on the motorway (35%), followed by middle-lane hogging (15%).
And many drivers are hoping that allowing learner drivers onto the motorway from 2018 will go some way to addressing their frustrations.
In fact, half (52%) of motorists think middle lane hogging should be focused on by learner drivers, and almost two in three (65%) believe that tailgating should be a priority.
Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com says: “With millions of commuters driving to work each day, it’s likely that they will come across careless driving offenders on their travels.
“Unfortunately, it’s a difficult crime to catch in the act, and so-called ‘smart’ motorways have yet to address the issue, which contributes to congestion and accidents - not something drivers want to be faced with on their already busy commute to work.
“Hopefully, allowing learner drivers to practice on motorways from 2018 will be a step towards reducing the number of tailgaters and middle lane hoggers on our roads.
“Drivers who drive on motorways regularly should view our mini-series with Thames Valley Police for advice on how to deal with careless driving offenders and to ensure they don’t accidentally commit these offences themselves.
“Tailgating and middle lane hogging, are not only punishable with points and a fine, but can increase your car insurance premiums. And drivers should do all they can to avoid being lumped with such penalties, especially after an already expensive Christmas period. Drivers concerned about the rising cost of car insurance should shop around online using sites such as Confused.com to compare deals.”